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Catherine Donaldson, Shantel Nunez, Breck Dakin, Adam Hickenbotham; Effects of Monocular and Binocular Viewing on Virtual Reality Sickness while using a 3D Stereoscopic Roller Coaster Simulation. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2018;59(9):2965. doi: https://doi.org/.
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© ARVO (1962-2015); The Authors (2016-present)
Despite improvements to Virtual Reality (VR) viewers, symptoms of VR sickness are still commonly experienced by users. While 3D depth perception is partly a result of binocularity, motion and depth cues still occur monocularly while viewing stereoscopic displays. Monocular vision could therefore be partly or entirely to blame for VR sickness. This experimental study tested the hypothesis that monocular viewing of the same stimulus will decrease the symptoms of VR sickness as compared to binocular viewing.
Subjects were students (n=60, 34 females, 26 males, mean age +/- SD = 24.9 +/- 4.2 years old) at the Kentucky College of Optometry. Each participant reported the amount of time they could use the viewer comfortably and rated their perceived levels of dizziness, headaches, nausea, and eye discomfort as none (0), mild (1), medium (2), or intense (3) before and after using a commercially available VR viewer. For monocular use, they wore an eye patch on the non-dominant eye. For binocular use, subjects aligned the pupillary distance (PD) of the VR viewer with the centers of the screens.
Mean comfortable viewing times were greater for monocular viewing (5.1±3.3 minutes) than binocular viewing (4.6±3.1 minutes) but did not reach statistical significance (p-value=0.14). 43% of subjects found binocular viewing caused more visual discomfort than monocular viewing. Subjective ratings for dizziness, headaches, nausea, and eye discomfort were found to be lower following monocular viewing (0.8, 0.5, 0.97, and 0.97) as compared to binocular viewing (1.1, 0.6, 1.0, and 1.2). This difference was found to be significant for dizziness and eye discomfort (p-values of 0.01 and 0.03).
While binocular viewing of a VR stereoscopic display did increase the symptoms of VR sickness, the difference was less than expected. A majority of negative side effects of VR may be caused by two-dimensional perception cues. This is significant in that advances in VR technology may require significant improvements be made in the two-dimensional aspects of the experience.
This is an abstract that was submitted for the 2018 ARVO Annual Meeting, held in Honolulu, Hawaii, April 29 - May 3, 2018.
Symptoms of VR Sickness (x-axis) vs the Subjective Rating of severity (y-axis) based on monocular and binocular viewing
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